Inside Aera
The Big Picture Sep 18, 2019

366,000 jobs, $152 billion for California’s economy – thanks to oil and gas

New study tallies industry’s contributions to the state

The oil and gas industry supported 366,000 jobs in California in 2017 — enough people to fill every NFL stadium in the state more than 1.5 times.

The industry also generated $152.3 billion in total economic output, or 2.1% of California’s overall gross state product.

Those are among the findings of an economic impact study released in August by the Institute for Applied Economics of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC).

Entitled “2019 Report Oil and Gas in California: The Industry, Its Economic Contribution and User Industries at Risk in 2017,” the study reinforces the industry’s critical role in the state’s economy.


More economic impact

    • The industry’s total economic output of more than $152 billion was nearly 7.5 times more than the impact of the state’s agricultural exports.
    • A major employer responsible for supporting 365,970 total jobs in 2017, the oil and gas industry accounts for 1.6% of California’s employment. That’s a 6% increase from 2016. Over the next five years, the 2017 employment number is projected to increase 1.6%.

  • $26 billion was paid in wages to all workers supported by the oil and gas industry.
  • The average annual wage for oil and gas industry employees was $80,500. That’s nearly 60% more than the average annual wage for construction and industry workers ($44,221). It’s also $10,155 more than the $63,783 median household income in California.
  • Nearly 50% of the oil and gas industry workforce is ethnically diverse, 63% of industry workers don’t have a bachelor’s degree, and one-third of all workers have a high school degree or less.

Supporting schools, public safety and more

The oil and gas industry’s contributions to state and local governments, which help support schools, roads, public safety and other vital services, included:

  • $21.6 billion in local and state tax revenues
  • $11 billion in sales tax
  • $7 billion in property taxes
  • $96 million in Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) assessments.

A closer look by region *


San Joaquin Valley – Home to more than 83% of all active wells and accounting for 75% of California’s total crude oil production, this region is the oil and gas industry production leader. The valley’s total economic contribution of $12.5 billion is more than the gross domestic product of 87 countries around the world.

Southern California – This region accounts for 53% of the state’s total oil refining capacity and for almost half of all industry employment. Southern California receives $62.8 billion in total economic contribution annually from oil and gas. The 153,830 jobs supported by industry would fill Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum almost two times.

Central Coast – This is California’s third largest oil- and natural gas-producing region. The industry generates $2.9 billion in total economic contribution and $609 million in state and local tax revenue.

Bay Area – From Sonoma County south to Santa Clara County, the oil and gas industry supports 81,510 jobs. Richmond in Contra Costa County is home to one of the three largest refineries in California. The Bay Area region manages 44% of the oil refining capacity in the state.

(* Source: Western States Petroleum Association)


DID YOU KNOW? Aera Energy is named to Forbes America’s Midsize Employers List for the fourth time and is among the top midsize companies to work for in the United States.

Aera Energy